Sunday 16 January 2011

Termini - from Airport to Car Park

Most suburban bus termini are in residential areas - logically as buses tend to take people from home to the centre. However there are several Blackpool termini - old and new - at other significant destinations and others in quite obscure places. This post traces some of these.

Blackpool Airport 
PD3 507, in its 1985 Tram Centenary livery supplemented similarly painted Routemasters on route 12 after deregulation. Here it turns towards the bus stop at Squires Gate Airport. Note in the green bus within the Airport grounds - this was former Blackpool Swift 562 used for fire training by the Airport fire crews.
Route 12 was the replacement for the Lytham Road tram service in 1961 and terminated at Squires Gate usually turning round in the front yard of Fylde's bus depot and loading outside the shops on Squires Gate Lane. In 1973 the terminus was moved into the Airport grounds turning round the traffic islands just off Squires Gate Lane - predating OMO conversion by over a year. This remained the 12 terminus until June 1987, after deregulation, when the route was extended to St. Annes. Short journeys resumed to the Airport in November 1987 and ended again in February 1988.

The vividly painted Atlantean 304 sits at the Airport terminus having approached on the other side of the island to its right.
Other services used the Airport periodically. Easyway Coaches started a commercial bus service 53 to Poulton via Marton and Victoria Hospital in March 1986 ahead of deregulation. This passed to Blackpool Transport in 1989 when Easyway lost their license but a successor firm - Town Bus - restarted it in 1991 and kept it going until 1995 when Fylde took over on a county council contract. It later passed to Phoenix North West and Blackpool Transport again in 2001 before being withdrawn in 2002. It last served the Airport grounds in 1995. Blackpool operated until June 1991 and again for a few months in 1994.

Certain journeys on route 22/22A were extended from Halfway House to the Airport in October 1989 and this continued until November 1994. Route 25 operated to the Airport for a few months in winter 1988/9.
The Airport became a terminus once more in November 2004 when evening and Sunday journeys on Line 5 were extended there, lasting until January 2008. Promenade service 1 served the Airport during 2006 and again from 2008 to November 2010. City Sightseeing service 20 also sevred the Airport towards the end of the 2009 season on the closure of Pontins.
Holiday Camps
Ex Fylde and new to Greater Manchester Atlantean 466 loads at Pontins in 1998
Pontins Holiday camp was served by the Promenade bus service from 1988 (with Renault Minibuses), through the 1990s (Routemasters then Atlanteans) until its closure in 2009 with Tridents and Olympians in use. Further history is available here.

Atlanteans were regulars on route 20 and 363 waits departure as a family rest their feet on the upper deck dash behind the rebuilt front windows..
Marton Mere Caravan Park was first served in 1988 by Fylde's "Fastlink 1" minibus route to Blackpool and has been served ever since. Up to 1999 it was served by the successors to the Fastlink - low floor routes 44A/B and 333/444 at night. From Easter 2000 a dedicated service 20 was introduced running via Preston New Road, Waterloo Road, Station Road and along the Promenade to the Town Centre. In 2006 the route was extended to the Zoo via Stanley Park and completely revised in 2007 to run Marton Mere to Pontins via Preston New Road, Zoo, Stanley Park, Town Centre and Promenade using City Sightseeing open toppers.

Delta 116 stands at the current Tesco terminus - the original bus bay being roughly where the container is behind the bus
Mereside turning circle was effectively supplanted by the new Tesco store built across the road in 1990. In July routes 23, 24, Fylde's 33 and 44 were extended there and route 53 diverted in for good measure. Oddly the 6 continued to turn at the circle, except for one bus per hour which went into Tesco. The initial terminus route involved a full tour of the car park to return to Clifton Road. In 2004 the store was expanded and the car park redesigned with a new, larger, bus terminus. By now all routes ran into Tesco - including all journeys on the 6 and the extra capacity was welcome with typically 18 departures per hour on the 3, 4, 6, 15 and L1.

Line 10 started in 2003 as an off peak Town Centre to Mereside service and often saw Atlanteans in between school duties. Here 362 prepares to swing round the roundabout and head back to town
Knott End
Line 2 liveried Metrorider 517 sits in the car park at Knott End ferry as the driver sets the blind for South Pier
With a contrast in volume of traffic with Tesco is Knott End Ferry car park. Buses used to terminate in front of the old Railway Station building at the top of the Ferry Approach. However for many years the car park has been used following changes to the road layout. There is no dedicated bus bay - the bus just swings round in the available space and it loads at a bus stop back on the main road. Since Stagecoach withdrew route 85 in 2005 Blackpool's 2C has provided the main service supplemented at roughly two hourly intervals by Stagecoach routes 86 and 89 which link to provide a Fleetwood- Knott End - Lancaster service.
Looking like it is sat on a country lane, Swift 559 sits at the Borough Boundary terminus alongside Trebaron Garden Centre. Note the non standard square registration plate uniquely fitted to this bus.
Perhapss the most obscure terminus was the 'Borough Boundary' between Blackpool and Fylde at a place colloquially known as Mad Nook. This was served by route 11C on its way to St. Annes but also a handful of journeys would terminate there each day on route 6B and later the 3A. The terminus was originally served by route 18 which ran from Town Cente via Spen Corner, Daggers Hall Lane, Welcome Inn, Midgeland Road and School Road once per hour. This started in 1948 and was later linked at Midgeland Road to route 19. From 1956 to 1964 the service again terminated by the boundary and was the only OMO service using one of a three Leyland Tigers converted to OMO specially.  

Swift 559 turns back onto Common Edge Road
The 18 was replaced by route 6B - a variation of route 6A - to Midgeland Road. Four journeys per day were extended to the Boundary arriving at 0851, 1151, 1251 and 1551, to serve St Nicholas School on School Road. The 3A replaced the 6B in 1976 and three journeys per day would serve the Boundary with the lunch time journeys withdrawn. This arrangement ended at deregulation, but resumed for a period in 1990 when one journey on route 25 was extended there in the morning - this lasted until the minibus conversion of 1996. From 1994 a couple of early morning journeys on route 14 would start at the Boundary at 0645 and 0715 and head to Fleetwood and a school service also terminated there. This ended when the Metro network started in 2001.